How to make fatoush

It might be hard to believe, but I actually do get excited by things other than words & politics. For example, I’m a little obsessed with a tabouli-on-steroids salad known as fatoush. Having left my sumac at R___’s house in Brisbane on the weekend, I thought I’d better send her the recipe. And then I figured – why not share it around? And with that a new category is born. (NB  traditional fatoush has radishes as well, and a higher ratio of radish, cucumber & tomato to parsley. But I like it better this way).

INGREDIENTS

1 & a half bunches of flat-leaved parsley
2 ripe tomatoes
1 lebanese cucumber
handful of mint
handful of coriander (optional)
few shallots
1 lemon
few generous slugs of good olive oil
mix of olive oil & cheap oil for frying
small handful of sumac
Decent amounts of salt
few large pinches of cinnamon
2-4 pieces of lebanese bread, torn into bits a bit bigger than a 50cm piece

METHOD

Cut off a fair chunk of the parsley stalks & discard (or save for stock), chop the rest of the parsley roughly but well. Chop the cucumber & tomatoes into small cubes. Chop the other herbs & the shallots. Mix in a big bowl. Add sumac, cinnamon, salt, juice of the lemon & olive oil. Mix well & leave aside (the longer it gets left at this stage the better it tastes because the bruised parsley absorbs all the flavours from the lemon juice etc).

Fry the lebanese bread in plenty of oil until light-medium brown & crunchy. Mix in with the rest. Serve & eat straight away. If it’s not mind-blowingly delicious add more salt. Eat it greedily, because the bread goes soggy if you leave it for more than an hour or so.

Great served with lebanese bread, baba ganoush, & mysterious chickpea bake.

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